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The Old Stone House at Port Jervis

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Formerly known as "the old stone house in Germantown", the historic building at 127 West Main Street in Port Jervis will be 225 years old in 2018. Now owned by the Minisink Historical Society, the building was constructed of roughly hewn stone, with a peaked roof and a stone chimney on each end. A sign on the north end is carved with the following inscription:



A N 1793

The house was one and a half stories high, with alternate layers of logs and stone. The crevices were filled with a type of mortar made mostly from mud. The roof was made in layers. The first layer, by intertwining saplings, the second by those of a larger growth and filled with gravel. A thick coating of clay was applied to protect it from the elements.

The interior contains four rooms on each floor, along with a spacious hall. Two large fire places, nine feet wide are located at each end of the building. The stone walls were plastered onto the 18" thick stone walls. Some of the floor boards are two-feet in width. The beams in the cellar are roughly hewn timbers. Stumps of wood believed to have been a portion of the stockade surrounding the fort have been discovered around the property.

Before the stone house was built, the site was previously occupied by and old fort or block-house, which had been built prior to the American Revolution. A family from Holland by the name of Hayne, who had immigrated to this country in 1760, conducted a military and trading post there for many years, trading with the Indians.

In 1779, when Col. Joseph Brandt made his famous descent upon the valley with a "horde of cutthroat Indians and tories", Captain Westfall, who had married a member of the Hayne family, was living there. After the war, he moved to Papakating Creek and died in 1765.

The first child born in the house was a daughter of Captain Westfall, who married a settler named Peter Decker and later removed to Sussex County, New Jersey. Their descendants lived at Deckertown and Port Jervis.

At some point, prior to 1793, the building was destroyed by fire. The foundation and a portion of the walls were still intact, and it was rebuilt in 1793. The first occupant in the new building was Mortimer Decker and family, whose initials were inscribed on the plate mentioned above. The family lived there until 1810, when Richard Decker, a relative of Mortimer, took occupancy. At that time a portion of the building was occupied by Samuel Stickney, "who conducted a crude grocery business".

Here you can see the building in its present condition. Drag inside the image to look around at the surrounding buildings. (Alternate link)

Later, the building came into the possession of John Kent, who lived there with his brother-in-law, William K. Stone, until 1817. In 1819, Catherine Stone, the wife of John W. Decker, was born there.

Mr. Kent sold the stone house to Mr. Stephen St. John, who remained there until 1836, when he removed to the base of Mount William. There he spent the remainder of his life. In 1865, it was sold to John Cannon, who lived there until he died in 1883. It then passed into the hands of his son by the same name who was the owner in 1893 when it was occupied by Patrick Noonan and his family.

This information was obtained from Rev. Dr. S. W. Mills and others, for a story featured in the Tri-States Union, a newspaper based out of Port Jervis, on June 1, 1893.



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